Lens Evaluate: Leica Sumarex 85mm f1.5

Ah, the OG king of bokeh, the Leica Summerex 85mm f1.5. Superbly restored and painted by Kanto Digital camera, this beautiful brass and glass barrel lately made its strategy to JCH HQ. It’s certainly aesthetically pleasing to the attention and takes some double takes however how does this cumbersome, nearly 80 yr previous lens stand as much as it as we speak? It was the quickest small telephoto lens provided by Leica for practically 40 years, till the discharge of the Sumilux 75mm f1.4 in 1980. Apart from being part of Leica historical past from a collector’s perspective, what 85 Rex Have in your mid-tele arsenal?

Leica Sumarex 85mm f1.5

background historical past

The Leica Summarex 85mm f1.5 was first introduced within the Leitz catalog in 1943, however was not made accessible to the general public till after World Conflict I Half Deux in 1949, initially unique to German troopers throughout the struggle. It has the excellence of being the primary Leica lens to be coated and has a world aperture scale. The lens initially got here in black and it’s reported that solely 276 black lenses have been made and 4066 have been chrome items. Throughout its lifetime till 1954, there have been some modifications; Early lens hoods had a clamping screw and later an exterior bayonet lock like on this pattern, and a change from black to silver chrome.

Leica Sumarex 85mm f1.5

The Leica Sumarex 85mm f1.5 was designed for press and journal photographers to hone their craft in sub-optimal lighting circumstances. Strobes and different out of doors lighting have been usually restricted in exhibits and theaters so a pointy lens was a needed choice. Enter Professor Berek, who labored laborious for years to finalize a Gauss-based formulation 85 Rex,

Picture courtesy of Leica Wiki

Leica Sumarex 85mm f1.5 Technical Specs

  • Manufacturing period: 1943-1959
  • Focal Size: 85mm
  • Aperture: f1.5-16
  • Mount: Leica Screw Mount (LTM) 28.8mm
  • Diagonal angle of view: 28.5°
  • Lens Development: 7 Components – 5 Teams
  • Variety of Blades: 17
  • Weight: 700g (w/hood 770g)
  • Filter: Screw-type 58mm
  • Lens Hood: ORQPO/12525

Leica Sumarex 85mm f1.5 Leica Sumarex 85mm f1.5 Leica Sumarex 85mm f1.5

movie pattern photographs

The next photographs have been shot on a Kodak Gold 200 and self-developed with a Cinestill CS41 after which scanned on a PlusTech Opticfilm 8200i.

digital pattern photographs

Beneath are the digital samples taken on the Leica M10R

last ideas

A tripod mount on the lens is a telltale signal that it’s partially challenged and weighs the identical as 2 cans of beer, 85 Rex is a fats animal. However that is the advantageous you pay for that previous cream. The dreamy mushy classic look is not everybody’s cup of tea, however I personally just like the presentation of this lens. For those who’re a fan of the 50mm abstract, this lens is correct up your alley with that look, however with out the distortion and flare points.

By way of competitors from that period, the Sumarex, whereas not precisely low cost, is extra reasonably priced than the Carl Zeiss Biotar 75/1.5, a a lot wanted classic portrait lens. As for me, I actually like Sumerex as a result of the bokeh from Biotar is just too pungent for my style.

85mm will not be an daily focal size so the Sumarex is actually a particular objective portrait lens. If you’d like practicality and flexibility then you need to go for it. However in case you have a ardour for historical past, classic high quality craftsmanship and a novel dreamy rendition, you possibly can add it to your arsenal right here.


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